Tray Chic

From anise to pistachio - Italian cookies explained

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When a cookie can trigger a happy memory, that’s a validation!” says Maria Bedrosian, and she knows from experience. Her mother Ann Louise Ronci founded Only the Finest Italian Cookies, a thriving business centered around a profound love of creating Italian cookie trays. “My mother always felt that a cookie was so personal and homey,” says Maria. When her mother unexpectedly passed in 2017, Maria couldn’t let all of the orders go unfilled, and, despite a full-time job, stepped up to the plate to honor her mother and got busy.

While some bakeries offer Italian cookie trays of six or 12 varieties, Only the Finest makes 25 types of cookies from just as many types of dough. “It’s not just one dough for all the cookies in different shapes. We can do this because it’s all we do,” explains Maria, who likes to make each cookie small “so that guests can enjoy more than one!” Only the Finest isn’t your ordinary bake shop. It’s an on demand, online-based business in North Providence, led by Maria and a trusty team of family and friends. “We don’t skimp. There’s lots of butter, fruit, nuts, chocolate, anise,” says Maria, who notes that Christmas is their busiest time of year. “The nice thing about the cookie tray is that there’s something for everyone, even a couple that are gluten-free.” 

How the Cookies Crumble
If you live in Rhode Island, chances are good that you’ve experienced the delights of an Italian cookie tray: assorted treats in different shapes and sizes, some filled, some dipped, some sandwiched and others with nuts, all piled prettily on a round disk and presented like a gift – wrapped in cellophane and tied with a bow. And just like a sampler box of chocolates, you may have wondered about what you were going to get. Maria Bedrosian of Only the  Finest Italian Cookies helps us crack the cookie code!

See captions for cookie descriptions.